Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting Migraine Care - My Turn To Vent

By now, I hope everyone who reads this blog knows that I care deeply about others with Migraines and their problems with getting treatment. Still, I'm seeing a trend that really bugs me.

What I'm seeing is Migraineurs who talk and talk about needing better care, but expect everything to be easy and essentially just handed to them. Let me explain. There are two main issues I'm seeing discussed:

  1. Finding a good doctor. Too many people expect to find a real Migraine specialist very close to home. One woman lives about an hour's drive from one of the top Migraine specialists in the country, but says that's just too far away.

    Too far? Lots of people would be jumping with joy if a good specialist were that close to them. If you live in a big city, it can take an hour just to drive from one side of the city to the other.

    Truth be told, when I see someone saying such things, I can't help thinking that if their Migraines were really as bad as they say they are, they'd make that drive.

  2. If it's not covered by insurance... Let me preface this by saying that I fully understand that some of us simply cannot afford doctors and medications not covered by our insurance. That's not the situation I'm talking about here.

    I'll use a friend of mine as an example of the type of situation I'm talking about... Jane (obviously not her real name) has horrid Migraines that keep her in bed for days at a time, usually three or four times a month. Jane and her husband both have great jobs that pay very well.

    Jane won't go to a Migraine specialist because there are none in her insurance network, so her insurance company won't pay for it. When her current neurologist suggested Botox to her, she wouldn't do it because, again, her insurance company wouldn't pay for it. Jane flat out told me that they could afford both the specialist and treatment not covered by insurance, but it would mean "cutting back."

    Now, for me, "cutting back" would mean cutting back on essentials, but for Jane, it might mean cutting back to two or thee cars instead of the five they have... cutting back on cable -- right now they get every cable channel available... actually cooking a meal instead of ordering food delivered or going out at least five nights a week... fewer designer clothes... and so on.
Many of us with "normal" incomes could trim some extras from our budgets to get to a specialist or pay for medications that aren't covered by insurance -- IF we were truly dedicated to getting better and having a better quality of life.

My insurance company won't pay for Maxalt, but it's the med that works best for me when I get a Migraine. So, I eat out less, but fewer clothes, rent DVDs instead of going out to the movies. And that's OK with me. No, I don't think it's right that my insurance won't cover Maxalt, but all appeals have been denied, and there's just no changing that. Rather than moan and groan about my insurance company... rather than being sick in bed every time I get a Migraine... I suck it up, take responsibility for my health, and do what I need to do.

How about you?



Annabell said...

Migraine is the abusive boyfriend. We make excuses for him. We think we deserve him. When things are good, we don't want to think about the bad. Some of us have trouble breaking the cycle of violence.

I'm working on it.

Teri said...

I got so tired of the neurologist telling me it was just too bad, take these pills and I'll see you in a year. I finally sought out my own doctor through a pain clinic. It's nowhere near where I live and it's not in-network. My drugs are expensive but it's a priority for not just me but my entire family. We all know that we make sacrifices because of high prescription drug cost. I'm with you on this one!

kari said...

Oh my god, I could not agree more. I just don't get those people that choose to live with their illness (migraine or other) instead of getting the help they know is out there. I think they live in denial because they don't want to face the possible changes to lifestyle (like your friend) that might be necessary to feel better. But I also have to believe that those people aren't suffering as much as others who will do ANYTHING to make the pain go away. I think the people in denial are also not helping migraine disease get the attention it deserves. We all have to stand up and be counted.

By the way, I just started a blog. It's Not much there yet but I'm working on it!


kari said...

I completely agree. I think those people are trying to deny the illness because they're afraid getting better will mean changing their lifestyle and sacrificing something. Well, wouldn't that be better than the pain? If not, then you ain't got it bad enough! Also, people refusing treatment aren't helping get migraine disease the attention it needs. We need to all stand up and be counted.

By the way, I just started a blog. It's called Not much there yet but I'm working on it! I hope you'll stop by.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with all of this. I did see a specialist for a while and my insurance wouldn't pay for it. It cost us about $10,000 for about a yr of treatment. Not bad, considering the fact that he helped me to get on the right medication and helped my regular doctor to understand what I was dealing with.
And prescriptions, I don't know how many different ones over the yrs my insurance hasn't paid for. The insurance I have now covers all but one, after we meet all of our deductables. So, for the first half of the yr we have to really cut back because my meds are over $3000 a month. The ones they don't cover, I get at Walmart for a cheaper price. (over $100 difference) So, there are ways around the high costs of some meds. As for the others, you just have to decide what is more important, your pain or stuff.

Icarus said...

In New Zeland, Maxalt was subsidized by our government through our taxes until recently. It was then swapped with "Rizamelt" (Rizatriptan), which I assume is due to lower cost. I wonder if Rizamelt is also available at lower cost where you are? That would be a good alternative.

Abigail said...

Icarus, Maxalt is a brand name for rizatriptan. Maxalt and Maxalt MLT (the same as Rizamelt) became generic in the U.S. this month.